Lichfield Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists
NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2008
Paul Barrow - Treasurer Bill Hollingshead - Bike Secretary Simon Heptonstall
Committee Members Bike Secretary EoM Run Coordinator Social Run Coordinator Newsletter Editor
Bill Hollingshead Richard Benfield
Vacant Simon Heptonstall
Paul Barrow (Senior) Roy Follows (Senior) Simon Heptonstall (Chief Observer / Senior) Nigel Morris (Observer Co-ordinator) Jeff Winterbottom Chris Bartram Bill Hollingshead Nigel Morris Gary Saunders (Trainee) Richard Benfield (Trainee) Stephanie Peters (Trainee)
We are always on the look out for keen volunteers to help with running the Group – please talk to any of the committee… We meet up at Fradley Village Hall on the last Sunday of the month (see back cover for map). The meeting starts around 10.00am and all new starters and members are welcome to attend.
in this newsletter… Group Information ............................................................................................. 2 Welcome! ......................................................................................................... 3 Regular Summer Bike Meets ................................................................................ 4 Ride Outs and Events.......................................................................................... 4 First Aid ........................................................................................................... 5 First Aid ........................................................................................................... 6 Training Blah Blah…............................................................................................ 8 Product Reviews .............................................................................................. 13 IAM National Bike Conference 2008..................................................................... 14 Have Your Say… .............................................................................................. 18 Come and see us…........................................................................................... 32
Welcome! Well it’s been an interesting summer – more floods, mega petrol prices (I can remember when it was 65p a gallon and Hovis was 20p a loaf), the ‘Credit Crunch’, Beijing Olympics (how many Gold’s did we win?) and Rossi riding on Bridgestones. You’ll be glad to hear that these (relatively) unimportant things have not stopped LAMM Bikes from getting out and about and keeping our Members happy with observed runs, events, social ride outs, camping trips and End of Month meetings… We have had a couple of changes in the Bike Group – most notably Roy Follows has stepped down as the Chief Observer after some years of keeping us all pointed in the right direction and although he is stil l involved with the group by supporting meetings and events, will not be Observing for a while. Roy deserves a big ‘Thank You’ from the whole Bike Group for his involvement over the years. I have taken on the Chief Observer role and look forward to everyone’s support in keeping morale and standards high and working with the rest of the Bike Group to move us forward. Bill Holling shead (Bike Secretary) has lead from the front this summer by shaping the new style (organised) End of Month meetings at Fradley, getting out almost every other weekend to promote Skills For Life at BikeSafe and bike Dealer events, and of course several mid-month Sunday rides. This is a huge personal commitment for Bill (and his long suffering family) and also necessitates him lugging stacks of equipment around to set up the stand. Well done and thanks Bill! Thanks also to many of you who regularly turn up at promotional events and talk to people about what we do – please keep on doing this, it makes a huge difference and gets people interested in joining the Group. Congratulations to the following Advanced Test passes this year (Observers in brackets) May June July August
Claire Hancock (Roy Follows) Rob Beale (Roy Follows) Steve Veraca (Jeff Winterbottom) Simon Simpson (Nigel Morris) Colin Leighfield (Jeff Winterbottom)
Simon Heptonstall – Chief Observer
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Regular Summer Bike Meets Red Lion, Longdon Green, Lichfield Wednesday evenings, drop in during the summer and have a chat with the biker friendly landlord. Also likely to find our very own Bill Hollingshead spreading the good word to the punters, no he hasn’t found religion, it’s LAMM he’s talking about! Grey Ox, A46, Six Hills, Leicestershire Tuesday evenings. Why? Because of the terrific road from Ashby to Six Hills Bassetts Pole, Sutton Coldfield Tuesday evenings. Not for the faint hearted, but it has calmed down over the past few years and is still a very busy biker meet on a summers evening The Waterman, Hatton near Warwick Wednesday evenings. Probably past it’s heyday and more family orientated these days, but some nice roads on the way down from Lichfield / Tamworth to Warwick
Ride Outs and Events April
Goodrich Castle (Mark McCausland leading) LAMM Bike Observers day
Anderton Boat Lift (Bill Hollingshead leading) Thundersprint Rally BikeSafe – Sutton Motorcycles, Tamworth
Derwent Valley (Steve Veraca leading) IAM National Bike Conference
IAM Rider Skills Day, Mallor y Park Cars in the Park, Lichfield Ponderosa Café (Bill Hollingshead leading) BikeSafe – CMC Motorcycles, Cannock
BikeSafe – Chells, Stafford Honda Open Day – Sutton Motorcycles, Tamworth Summer Barbeque Bourton-on-the-Water (Nigel Morris leading) BikeSafe –Yamaha, Tamworth
Camping in Anglesey (Steve Watt leading) Senior Observer Training weekend
… don’t forget, mid-month Sunday ride outs will continue throughout the winter … … we will send out group e-mails to give information on when and where … … all the information is posted on the LAMM forum at … http://www.lamm.org.uk/forum … also check the google events calendar, link on the forum …
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LAMM Observer Training Day Tam Yam BikeSafe Clee Hills
Janine getting to know the Haslam’s!
Richard “Croc Dundee” Benfield brewing up
Steve & Mark - Anglesey Snowdonia - Trefan Page 5 of 32
First Aid You are strongly recommended to enrol on a proper First Aid course with a reputable First Aid training provider. None of us want to be involved in an accident - but the fact is that if you travel enough, you will either come across one or be involved in one. While there is usually no shortage of bystanders, only a few are likely to have done any First Aid training and most of them are unlikely to have taken any form of retraining. However, you may be by yourself… Check your surroundings Remain Calm – so that you can think clearly (easier said than done!) At the scene of any accident, your first thought should always be safety, both for yourself and the victim. There is already one casualty, don't make yourself another. Firstly look around and survey the scene - is it safe? Look for any potential hazards; these could be anything that puts either of you at risk, from falling objects and running engines to oncoming traffic. If you can smell petrol or diesel, make sure that no one smokes nearby. Only when you're sure it's safe should you take action and commence first aid. First steps Now you can turn your attention to the accident victim. Before anything else it's vital you find out if they are conscious:
• • • •
Speaking loudly and clearly, ask the casualty if they can hear you and to explain what has happened If they don't answer, ask them to open their eyes - this helps identify those people who are alert but may be unable to talk If there is no response, very gently shake the person's shoulders and look carefully for any signs of life If the patient is unconscious, shout for help or ask a bystander to call 999 – make sure they know exactly where the scene is and the ‘state’ of the accident victim (conscious, breathing etc)
While you wait for help to arrive, it's up to you to keep the person alive. It's now time to check the golden 'ABC' of first aid - 'Airway', 'Breathing' and 'Circulation'. 'A' is for Airway A blocked airway can quickly lead to suffocation, and possibly death. After any accident there could be a foreign object in their mouth, or the victim may swallow their tongue. Check inside their mouth, and remove anything that shouldn't be there. Place one hand on their forehead, and gently tilt the head back, whilst lifting the chin up with the tips of two fingers on your other hand - this reduces the risk of them swallowing their tongue. Page 6 of 32
'B' is for Breathing Even with an open airway, the victim may have stopped breathing. Check for breathing by placing your head over the victim's face so your cheek hovers above their mouth and your eyes look down at their chest - is it moving up and down taking breaths? Feel for any breaths against your cheeks, and listen for any breath sounds. What you do next depends on whether they're breathing or not. If the victim is NOT breathing, you need to give them two rescue breaths:
Pinch the person's nose, take a deep breath and seal your lips around their mouth blow into their mouth, and look to make sure their chest rises and falls Now check their pulse - if there is no pulse, you should commence CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) - if they have a pulse, give regular rescue breaths, one every 5 seconds, checking the pulse every minute
To check for a pulse - use the carotid Artery in the neck, DO NOT check the pulse in the wrist as this can be unreliable. To find the pulse in the neck, run two fingers down the windpipe until you come to the voice box. Slide your fingers to the left or right and press in with your finger tips just as you come off of the windpipe. Check for a pulse for up to 10 seconds. Finding the pulse can be difficult so if you are having problems, check the pulse in both sides of the neck and look for other signs of life such as skin colour / temperature, movement, coughing / breathing etc. The normal adult pulse rate at rest is between 70 and 80 beats per minute. If possible, ask someone to record the results of your checks (and the time you made them) and repeat every couple of minutes. Give the record of your observations to the Ambulance crew on their arrival. If the victim IS breathing, as long as you feel there are no other serious injuries (particularly to the head or neck); you should place them in the recovery position:
Roll the victim onto their side. Lift their chin forward to maintain an open airway, then place their hand underneath their cheek.
In this position they should not be able to roll forwards or backwards. Keep an eye on their breathing and pulse until help arrives. 'C' is for Circulation CPR should only be performed by a qualified first aider. The aim is to breathe for the victim, whilst pumping blood around their body to keep them alive. CPR and rescue breathing techniques are performed differently in adults, infants and children, and guidelines change frequently. In an adult:
• • •
Place the heel of one hand in the centre of the chest - position your other hand on top, and lock the fingers of both hands Keeping your arms straight, press down about 5cm - this is one chest compression You should perform 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 a minute, trying to pump blood around the body Page 7 of 32
Following this, give two rescue breaths - this cycle of 30 compressions and two breaths should be repeated until help arrives
Check for and treat serious bleeding Carry out a full body scan for any signs of bleeding. If possible put on a pair of disposable gloves before you start. Run your hand over and under the casualty's body feel for blood / other fluids and look at the casualty's clothing for any signs of discoloration caused by bleeding. As you pull your hand out from under the casualty, check your gloves for any signs of blood. If possible, expose any wounds and apply direct pressure with either your hand or with a suitable dressing. Do not worry if you cannot tie the dressing in place, just keep the pressure on. If blood soaks through the first dressing, put another one on top of the first one. If there are any foreign objects embedded in the wound, do not remove them and do not apply pressure (i.e. a dressing) on top. Instead, apply pressure to either side of the wound by squeezing the sides together. Never use tourniquets to control bleeding and never prevent blood / fluid from draining from the ear. DO’s
• • • • • • • •
Keep Calm Call the Emergency Services Assess the safety of the accident scene Talk to the victim Keep them warm and dry Check their Airway Check their Breathing Check their Circulation
Give them anything to eat or drink, in case they require an anaesthetic Move the victim unless absolutely necessary, i.e. helmet removal for CPR
Many thanks to The Internet!
Training Blah Blah… This piece is aimed at ‘new’ riders, but there’s some useful stuff in here… Riding a bike ain't easy. Even the experts accept that learner training is, at best, no more than a solid grounding to work from. In fact, learner training leaves some stones well and truly unturned and it's these moist, dark areas of riding we're going to look at. To ensure at least a veneer of credibility, we enlisted the expert know-how of Kevin Williams, a riding instru ctor offering a range of courses tailored to all levels of riding under the 'Survival Skills ' banner, and Gary Baldwin, an accident investigator with Thames Valley Police. “Learner training isn' t far off,” says Gary, “but you need to look at the end result and ask where riders have problems after their test. Experience tells us that braking and Page 8 of 32
cornering are two of the key areas that need more work doing. Riders are obviously meant to sort it out for themselves, which is fine if they do but if they don't it leaves them struggling.” Kevin Williams teaches both qualified and learner riders, and sees the problem as one of self-perceived competence. “To some extent it's down to how well the rider feels they are in control as they come away from the test centre. Many riders will be happy they're riding at a good standard; okay, they can keep the examiner happy for half-a-hour, but that doesn't mean they're riding well, only adequately. On the other hand you get others who feel they have a problem and know they have problem areas. The issue is to persuade people there is something more to learn.” Positioning A motorcycle's width, or its lack of it, gives riders huge flexibility for changing position to their best advantage. Moving a couple of feet to the right or left can make the difference between seeing approaching hazards or not and being seen by other drivers or not. Correct positioning in corners is key to smooth progress. Yet learners are taught to remain in a largely inflexible position a metre or so from the left-hand kerb. “The DSA is so regimented on it,” says Gary. “Moving towards the centre of the road is like slaughtering your first born to them, but positioning correctly on a bike is crucial.” Kevin explains that need not be the case: “I think it's partly a hangover from what was true 10 or 12 years ago. If you read the DSA manuals in depth they do say you should consider changing your position when dealing with a hazard. If one of my pupils is approaching an on-coming articulated lorry and they can just make out the headlamp of a car behind it, I would tell them to move to their left to give them line of sight to the car - see and be seen.” The essence of that isn't very different from what you would do on an advanced test. The key is to be flexible and think about the best place to be in any given situation. While moving to the centre of the road on the approach to a left-hander gives a much better line through the corner, rigid i nsistence on doing so every time doesn't take into account the occasions when it isn't safe: oncoming lorries, traffic waiting to turn out of a junction on your right or any number of other hazards might mean a position nearer the left is safer. Likewise, moving as far left as possible on the approach to right-handers may hide you from the view of cars turning right across your path, or put your tyres in debris at the side of the road. Counter Steering Here's something they don't usually teach you in CBT: you push the left bar to go left, and push the right bar to go right. Perhaps understandably, the DSA like to keep that quiet to avoid confusing learners, but 'counter steering' is key to getting a bike round corners. "It's not in the official book," says Kevin, "and it's a technique that the DSA question as relevant for learners. It's often asked, 'What do you gain from learning about counter steering?' Well, you learn to stay out of hedges. We teach people to twist the throttle, change gear and use the clutch, and all that is far more complicated than simply understanding that you push the bars left to go left. But because it doesn't have DSA approval, it's left to the training schools to teach it or not." If you ride a bike and get it safely round corners, you're already counter steering. There's no other way to get a bike to change direction at speed - and by 'speed' we
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mean anything above 20mph or so. However, by putting conscious thought and effort into it, counter steering can transform your machine control. We're not talking about massive physical input - far from it in fact - all that's needed is brief, gentle pressure pushing forward on the inside handlebar: push the left bar to turn left, push the right to turn right. Bu t be careful if trying it out- counter steering is so effective that too much force can have your bike veering to one side or the other if you're not expecting it. Overtaking Once you're free of the shackles of strangled learner bikes, a whole new world of overtaking is open to you. But be careful. While the temptation to fly past every car you come upon is enormous, the risks are high. There's more to a safe overtaking opportunity than an apparently clear stretch of road ahead. This doesn’t just apply to new riders! A significant number of bike v car accidents occur when a bike tries to overtake as the car turns rig ht, so before you go for an overtake, ask yourself a few questions. •
• • •
Is the overtake legal? Make sure you're not going to illegally cross a solid white line or, god forbid, break a speed limit (see your Highway Code for all the other 'You Must Nots') Is the vehicle you're planning to overtake about to do the same to the car it's following? Or is it about to move to the right to pass a bicycle or pedestrian you can't see? Is someone in the process of overtaking you? Is the car you're looking to overtake about to turn right into a side road, driveway, lay-by or farm track? Is a vehicle about to turn right out of one of the above and into your path without looking to the left first?
Remember, overtaking near junctions is specifically advised against in the Highway Code, so if you pass someone as they turn right (even if they weren't indicating), you're at least partly to blame. While that lot may make overtaking sound like too hazardous to risk, with enough forward planning and awareness of what's going on, the risks can be managed. If you're unsure about overtaking go on a 'dummy run' and follow some cars around, looking for overtaking opportunities without necessarily taking advantage of them. See where it might be safe to pass, and learn to spot the potential hazards. There's a lot to take in and in a relatively short time, so don't rush. If you're not comfortable with an overtake or unsure about it, simply hold back and return to a safe following position. Looking for a pass? Move closer (from following position to an overtake position) and assess the situation, but don't put yourself in a dangerous position or intimidate the driver you're following. Town Riding & Filtering Halving the time taken on the morning commute is one of the reasons so many people switch to two wheels, but once on the road many find grid-locked traffic an intimidating place to be. There are a lot of potential hazards to be aware of, so take your time and don't rush into anything.
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One thing to be aware of is that, as far as the law is concerned, filtering is classed as overtaking. That means many of the points covered in 'Overtaking' apply equally to filtering, albeit in a slower and more condensed environment. While caution and uncertainty holds some riders back in heavy traffic, over-confidence can equally be a problem in others. Rushing headlong between queues of stationary traffic may appear a tempting proposition, but presents many risks. Filtering safely is about being aware of potential dangers and taking steps to avoid them. Don't fixate on getting to the front of every queue to the exclusion of all else going on around you. At the same time, learn to recognise safe routes through heavy traffic to make the most of your two-wheeled advantage. Low Speed Control There's a reason for all that wobbling round cones taught in CBT. As with braking and the emergency stop, it's not simply there to impress the examiner, only to be forgotten and never used again. If you want to master filtering and town riding, you'll need to ensure your low speed control is up to scratch. Paddling feet-down through rows of cars may feel more secure at first, but in reality you don't have proper control over the bike. There's no shame in finding a quiet car park and practicing feet-up U-turns and figure-ofeights, especially if you're riding a new, unfamiliar machine. Upper body movement and relaxed posture are the key to sub-walking pace, full-lock balancing on a bike. Forget sitting bolt upright, back straight and arms tensed. Instead, relax in the seat with your lower back arcing outwards slightly. Relax your arms, neck and shoulders and let your hands rest on the bars. Pull away and with both feet on the pegs, try trickling along at walking pace, balancing clutch control against a gentle squeeze of back brake to keep your speed right down. To make a U-turn, look right over your shoulder to where you want to go before turning the bars to follow. They key is to stay relaxed in the seat and use upper body movements to counter the bikes tendency to ‘fall’ into the turn. Stay off the front brake - touching it will compress the forks which, at low speed with the bars turned, will affect the radius of the turn you're attempting and send the bike off line and possibly you off balance. Braking "Emergency stops are taught for a reason” explains Kevin, "but keep practising. They're not just something to do in front of the examiner and never do again.” The trouble with the emergency stop on the test is that you know it’s coming - real life isn't like that and it's all too easy to grab a handful of front brake and lock up when a real panic braking situation arises. "Some people have no idea how hard they can brake," says Gary. "But you get both extremes: brake madly and lock up, or 'I don't like this', so they don't brake at all." If you are going out to practise braking find a quiet - ideally empty - car park. Remember, you're squeezing the lever, not grabbing it. It's how firmly and how quickly you squeeze that determines the rate you slow, but remember that you have to take up the ‘slack’ in the front suspension and allow the front tyre contact patch time to ‘flatten’ as the weight of you and the bike moves forwards - smoothly. Developing a 'feel' for front tyre grip comes with experience. The more you have the better off you'll be in a real emergency. Another thing to be aware of is the road surface and how much - or how little - grip it gives. Car drivers are often oblivious to the changing nature of road surfaces; new motorcyclists have a lot to learn. White lines, manhole covers and loose chippings are to Page 11 of 32
be avoided, but also look out for extra-grippy surfaces such as Shellgrip, found in the braking areas on the approach to some junctions and roundabouts. Group Riding A social blast with mates is a real temptation for new riders, but the mob mentality group riding can encourage may create an environment not suited to them. "Group riding has become a cause of accidents," says Gary, "and in 2003 it became a real issue. You'd get 20 blokes riding together at a pace only one was happy with. That is a recipe for disaster." Again, Kevin agrees: "Without doubt the worst riding I see is group riding. I don't think it could be covered in learner training, but any rider who has passed their test should think about." So what to do? Only ride with those sympathetic to your limitations. Ideally avoid large groups, and certainly avoid riding with people whose priority is to show you how much faster / more reckless than you they are. If you want to ride with someone, pick a mate you can trust who's happy to ride at your pace. If you're following, avoid the temptation to fixate on them; look through, not at them. Be aware that following a rider who knows where to position themselves will mean they block your view if you're too close. Make your own decisions and think and ride for yourself. (Where have I heard that before? – Ed) Just Go and Ride You're not going to get any better at riding your bike by not riding it, so get out there and put the miles in. Don't just confine them to sunny Sunday afternoons; experience is best gained in all weathers (well, most of them), and on all kinds of roads. If your planned commute to work makes you nervous, ride the route on a quiet Sunday morning to familiarise yourself with it. Likewise, if the thought of riding on motorways puts the willies up you, put some miles in on free-flowing ones before tackling the M42 in Monday morning rush hour. "There's no substitute for mileage," says Gary. "With my training head on, one of the most frustrating things we find is that people want to be biking Gods, but they're not prepared to put the time in practising. You have to ride, you have to get familiar with the whole process. Riding your bike is the key to getting good at it. Do some serious mileage and learn the skills. And take some extra training. There's lots you don't yet know.” Not Good Enough? One problem with advanced training is gett ing people to conside r it. misconception among new riders that they're 'not good enough' for it. Gary:
“Advanced is a bad word, i t puts some people off. Al l we're talking about is enhancing the skills you built on when learning and taking them to the next stage in your development.”
Kevin: “While people do take further training, we have a problem persuading many of them that they're good enough to try it in the first place. It's a parti cular problem with the ladies, many of whom think advanced training is going to be far too advanced.” Many thanks to Tim Dickson visordown.com
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Product Reviews Scottoiler FS365 For those bikers who like to ride their bikes during the winter, you will have noticed that left to its own devices, your bike will gradually start to look ‘furry’ and rusty. There is no magic product to stop corrosion (apart from leaving your bike in the garage all winter, but what fun is that?); however, FS365 is an easy to apply spray on protector that doesn’t leave your bike and garage floor coated in oily slime. A recommended winter routine is to spray the bike down with cold water as soon as you get home, then spray FS365 onto all metal surfaces (avoiding brake discs and calipers). Once a week give the whole bike a thorough wash down with a good car shampoo and spray it again with FS365 – you get the idea, just keep spraying the stuff on anything that will corrode! What do Scottoiler say about it…? “FS 365 Protector Spray is a blend of mineral oil, surfactant, anti-corrosion additives and water which forms a stable microsolution that can only separated by evaporation. FS 365 is water soluble and therefore inherently biodegradable, it clings to all surfaces lubricating and preventing the onset of rust. FS 365 is an MCN PRODUCT OF THE YEAR” http://www.scottoiler.com
Bald and Tired Last week “Bald and Tired” this was my Honda CB1300, with the thought of a two up jaunt to Anglesey in unpredictable weather with tyres that had long since seen their best was weighing heavy on my mind. We have all been there, we take a look at our tyres they look thin but will do just one more run and another and another. Well the time had come to get some new rubber, this is always a difficult decision, with Brands, Compounds, Grip, Life and Cost all a consideration, and I decided to take the advice I give to everyone, and go and ask the experts. My bike had wheeled its way out of Japan on Dunlop Sportmax’s, tyres that I could not get on with despite having two replacements. Two years ago I took the advice of Brian Barnes, Service Manager at Alf England’s in Bedworth, and had a set of Bridgestone 020’s, these were ace, but two years on, what tyres are out there - 020’s? 021’s? Something else? Well I picked up the phone to Wheelhouse in Coleshill and asked for their expertise “What is the best tyre for my bike?” the answer can back “Michelin Pilot Road 2’s”. I have always loved Michelins on a car, but never really had any confidence Michelin motorcycle tyres. Added to that the recent Moto GP fiasco with tyres I hear my self saying, “Are you sure? If they ain’t good enough for Moto GP, they ain’t good enough for me!” I better ask the source I always trust, “The Internet”. I put the tyre’s name into Google and before I know I read a dozen very positive reviews, I am convinced though, why I am convinced by faceless article written by some numpty in Dorking and not convinced by the gruff voice of a Brummy tyre fitter - I do not know? Page 13 of 32
Well it’s the day I get the tyres fitted and I’m like a kid with a new bell on his bike, I have to go off and try these new tyres (carefully to start with of course). They seem good. 24 hours later I am loaded up pillion and all and off the Anglesey, well I have to say that the advice was good and the tyres did not disappoint the bike feels sure footed, tips in so easy and was confidently soaking up all the Welsh mountains could throw at them. Well done Bibendum and after talking to my colleagues it appears these tyres suit Sports, Spo rts Tourers and old men’s bike like mine. Another quality French Product! Many thanks to Bill Hollingshead
IAM National Bike Conference 2008 Motorcycling the future Karen Cooke - Motorcycle Safety Manager for the MCIA Karen talked about the MCIA role in representing; Motorcycle Manufacturers and Importers, Clothing and accessory manufacturers, importers and wholesalers, Marketing and finance services. This year some of their keys strategies included: • Lobbying the Government and EU • Technical Developments • Providing General Motorcycle Information • Promoting Safer Motorcycling • Campaigns • National Motorcycle Week – 14th to 18th July 2008. • Now’s The Time • The NEC Motorcycle Show • Statistic s Karen explained her role within the organisation as the first point of contact for all motorcycle safety issues: • Motorcycle Safety Committee (MCI) • ACPO – BikeSafe and Motorcycle Enforcement Strategy • DSA - Safe Motorcycling Group • DfT - Chair of Training, Testing & Licensing Sub Group of the National Motorcycle Council (NMC) The MCIA also does work with the DSA on issues such as: • CBT standards and syllabus • Direct Acces s standards • Upcoming legislation (2 & 3 DLD) • Instruc tor qualifications • Training ratios
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Karen also talked of their involvement in the Government’s Motorcycle strategy including: • Training, Testing & Licensing • Safety & Public Relations • Technical, Environmental & Engineering • Traffic Management, Planning & Transport Karen also talked of a growing partnership between the IAM and MCIA in ways such as: • IAM now attending DSA Safe Motorcycling Group • Help to promote increased, but safer usage of motorcycles • Make post-test rider development sexy and aspirational • Promote ‘Lifelong Learning’ through encouraging others to join the IAM
My Motorcycle Ride from Chile to Alaska Geoff Hill Geoff hill shared with us his motorcyc le ride from Chile to Alaska, this was by far the most entertaining part of the conference with a slide show and talk about his adventure, it has to be said that the adventure looked most precarious with very little planning including Geoff not even seeing his specially prepared triumph until t he day of departure, you can read all about the adventure in Geoff Hills book named after the final destination in Alaska “The Road to Gobblers Knob”.
MotorcycleSim Dr Alex Stedmon This is a motorcycle simulator that has been designed by a team at Nottingham University. Dr Alex Stedmon explained their first b rief and where they had got to, it uses could include t raining, crash i nvestigation, product testing et c, if you have an interes t in this then you should view the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kEEHoJ3KP0
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Head Office Update After lunch we had feedback from head office. Membership statics show that whilst overall IAM memberships fall, motorcycle grows and 1 in 5 new members is a motorcyclist. Quite a statist ic when you consider we represent 1 in 100 road users! Skill For Life purchases (Motorcycle) hit an all time high in April at almost 500. Bike Initiatives for 2008 include: • E-newsletter developments and greater penetration • Member days • Magazine • Work by the Trust • Tie up with Kill Spills initiative An explanation of the allocation of tests to examiners was given.
IAM trust Neil Greg Research/policy in 2007/8: • Acceptability of speed cameras • Parents Guide to children's safety on the road • Tyre safety • Motorway Service Areas • MOT testing regime • Rural Roads • Star Rating of Roads • IAM Motoring Facts 2008 2008/2009: • Young Drivers • Young Moped riders • Women and Cars • Cycling Motorists • IAM Motoring Facts 2009 and beyond • Star rating and speed limits A detailed presentation was given about the trust’s work on making Roadside furniture Motorcycle friendly and in particu lar their research and work on making crash barriers (Armco) safer. Also the work that has gone into rating roads and their safety EuroRap. Similar to cars safety rating EuroNcap.
Bob Farish (Chairman Leeds Group) Gave a presentation on his “Group Database Tool” he has developed in Microsoft Access.
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Associate Briefing Paul Brown (Middlesex Advanced Motorcyclists) Gave a talk on debriefing associates:
• • •
Systematic approach to an observed ride Information exchange Gauge their knowledge and understanding
How do Middlesex do it? A B C HARLEY D About them – Introductions, How long have they been riding? What type of riding do they do? Any other training? Eyesight check Knowledge check System O.A.P. A B C HARLEY D Bike – How long have they had it? What other bikes have they had? Check documents and bike - POWDER Clothing A B C HARLEY D Concentrate on/cover from last time – What do they want to work on? Aim of the ride? In for test? Constraints on time? A B C HARLEY D How today’s ride will go – No pressure, Ride as normal, Speed limits A B C HARLEY D Ahead only – Until signalled to turn off A B C HARLEY D Route – Explain signals for navigation A B C HARLEY D Lost – What to do if it happens Exchange mobile numbers? A B C HARLEY D Explain – Observers positioning A B C HARLEY D You – the rider are responsible for your own motorcycle and the consequences of your actions. A B C HARLEY D Don’t – ride off until told to do so and In any situation only safety is important. If in doubt – DON’T If any of the above is of interest to you, please contact me email@example.com and I can forward the original presentations to you
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Have Your Say… Route de Grande Alpes
After an ‘eventful’ biking weekend in October 2007 to watch WSB in Magny Cour, Steve and I talked ambitiously of ‘doing the Alpes’ in summer 2008. Day 1, end of June, we invade France at Calais and head to Dole on fast toll routes - 600 tedious but stress-free miles later we arrived at the only hotel of the week. Formule1 Hotels are great for biking trips - clean rooms, secure parking and cheap – don’t forget your 4-digit door code when making a dash down the corridor to the shared ‘facilities’, especially if you’re only dressed in a towel! Day 2, down to Geneva, with the Alpes looming c loser on the horizon. Brief stay in Geneva – impressive with lots of expensive cars, glitzy hotels and restaurants. Temperature was like a dry sauna, and it was only going to get hotter as we travelled south, but that first acclimatisation stop took ours breaths away!
Then south east to Chamonix and the enormous scale of Mont Blanc and the Alpes became apparent. The first climb along the north side of the Pennine Alpes towards Martigny and the Grande Ste. Bernard Pass was stunning and indescribable. We stopped regularly to take pictures, but soon realised that around the next corner there was even more breathtaking scenery. Quick stop at the top of the Grande Ste. Bernard Pass listening to what we decided was a recording of dogs continually barking from the monastery, then into Italy. What a shock, after the superb roads of France and Switzerland we found ourselves riding down a ‘road’ that was still being built by the Romans! Part-gravel surface with the road foundation piling columns exposed – would only recommend this road if you’re on a trailie…
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Then up the Aosta valley and over the Petite Ste. Bernard Pass into France, chased all the way up the hairpins by a two-up Goldwing - boy could he hustle that bike! The Petite Ste. Bernard Pass was a stonking ride - arriving us at Seez. We pitched the tents by 7.30, only to find that nothing was open, so we were without food for the evening! The campsite reception obliged with several bottles of beer – now we felt like proper bikers, ride all day, drink beer all night.
Number one priority on Day 3 was finding breakfast, so with an early start on the Route de Grande Alpes we got to Val d’Ise re around 8.00 and had a picnic outside a local Spar – bloody marvellous! Re-fuelled we could now enjoy the scenery again as we made our way up the Col de L’Izeran. Lots of bikers, lot s of cycli st (mad b*******s) and hardly any cars - well just enough cars to provide some sport for overtaking… Then on to Lac du Mont Cenis, a man-made lake with a dam wall at the Italian end, very unusual and dramatic scenery and a pyramidal church. The lakeside café we stopped at for the obligatory café et croissants had a stuffed animal on the veranda. Enquiring more closely, our excellent French (no really, just test me anytime…) determined that the waitress called it a Marmoset. After leaving the café I decided that the animal must be more related to Pheasants, as two of them (live ones that is) decided to fling themselves across the road in front of us! We also fell foul of the Italian roads again, but this time at least they had the decency to admit their abject failure to maintain the road by closing it, forcing us back to the Route de Grande Alpes. In every cloud there is a silver lining… the detour took us over the Col de Galibier with stunning mountain views, great road surface and dozens of hairpins – what else could we possibly ask for? Steve and I talked about how good the skill level of motorcycle riders was and we reached a couple of conclusions: if a biker can make it to the top of the Alpes, then they are probably pretty good and more importantly, the ones who are no good will never be found - over the edge you’re gone without a trace! Finished the day in Briançon at a campsite with an outdoor pool. Our ‘neighbours’ were three Dutch guys in a motor home, normally this would not be interesting, but they were bikers. On a trailer they had two sports bikes, one of which was a Moto Morini (very rare Steve assured me), and in a large side door at the back of the motor home was a Super Moto. Travelling in style or what? Day 4, a blur of mountain views, deserted endless ribbons of sticky tarmac, scary hairpin climbs and descents and fast flowing valley roads. The Route de Grande Alpes certainly lived up to its name and reputation. Highlights were the Col de la Bonette (the highest paved road in France at just over 2,800m) and the Col de Turini down to Menton. I could have turned around and done the whole thing again – maybe next year! Page 19 of 32
After a short run on the busy autoroute along the Med coast, we turned off into Grasse, and got completely lost trying to find the Route Napoleon, “What” I hear you mock “The Route Napoleon, it’s named after a brandy and is one of the most famous roads in all of France, how careless of you to lose it!”. So we stop to take stock, get back on the bikes and find the sign at the next roundabout, no honestly, one minute we’re lost without hope, next minute a big sign, ‘Route Napoleon ’. Bliss, Steve voted the 30 mile stretch we did on Route Napoleon to Castellane the best bit of road on the trip (keep reading for the worst, and it wasn’t in Italy!). Campsite was excellent, with an evening meal in the nearby village of La Garde. The best French meal I’ve eaten, lost track of the various dishes and treats they brought us between courses, including cupful of cold, green soup and raspberry sorbet in a sherry glass. We even managed to get some take-out beers before we set off back to the campsite. After an hour of walking up the steep track, we looked back down the hill, and remarked that there was another campsite on the other side of the valley - s**t, no there wasn’t, it was ours but we were too p****d to spot the turning at the bottom of the hill. How we laughed! Day 5, Gorge du Verdon a deep, steeply sided gorge ca rved by the river. Progress was very slow through the Gorge due to bl ind rock wall co rners, lots of cars and (bloody) motor homes.
We also took in a bit of history, stopping at the Roman amphitheatre at Arles, which we managed to park directly outside. The campsite near Milau was run by RNL (the Dutch company that ran the one we stayed at near Castellane). We outstayed our welcome with some outrageous behaviour that must have had the inmates signing a petition to have us run off the site. To get things rolling, we were asked by reception to order food from the pizza bar before they shut. Just enough time for Steve to go for a shower, and me to put up my tent. Two very nice pizzas, a litre of beer each and a shared litre of red wine later, we ambled back to our pitch, in the dark. All was quiet, not a creature stirred nor a light shone anywhere, after all, it was 10.30! Page 20 of 32
I went for a quick shower (cold water!) and received a few odd looks from people at the shower block, but thought nothing of it. Steve started to pitch his tent, using a hammer borrowed from some GB caravanners. We found ourselves laughing hysterically and rolling around on the floor as we were trying to remember what shape the tent was meant to be, resulting in Steve hitting himself a couple of times with the hammer. Day 6, I went to use the facilities and got more funny looks from inmates as I was leaving the shower block. I commented on this to Steve, and he pointed out that I had been using the women’s toilet and shower block – cheque please, time to leave! The next iconic landmark on our route was the Sir Norman Foster designed, French built Milau bridge over the Tarn Valley. Amazing sight and well worth the visit. Going over the bridge itself was underwhelming since the side screening isolates the height, but the approach views of the bridge support columns (designed to resemble spears) reaching high above the valley sent shivers down my back – good job I’m not a bridge engineer or I may have fallen off in excitement.
The best view was from a river bridge in Milau town. After stopping in the busy, attractive town centre for “Café et croissants si’l vous plait”, we headed into the Gorge du Tarn. Brilliant - great views over the edge into the river valley and lots of white vans carrying canoes flying around the bends (they were from local outdoor adventure groups). Along the route we caught up with three English bikes, one was on a Tenere and had gone totally native by wearing shorts, T-shirt and trainers – I could feel cold chills watching the state of his riding and lack of any gear, so passed the three of them. The next bikes we caught up with were two Frenchies on matching BMW F800S’s, as I closed in, they both decided to make a little more ‘progress’ and there was no way past. I trailed them for about 5 miles and really enjoyed our little convoy as their riding was smooth, confident and quick.
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At a small town they pulled over for a breather and we also stopped, they both removed their helmets, one was a guy in his 60’s, the other his wife, also in her 60’s! Just goes to show, biking is for everyone. Leaving the Gorge du Tarn behind us we crossed the N75 and headed for the Puy-deDome region (extinct volcanoes and Volvic water). The scenery was very similar to Derbyshire with green rolling hill s and quick ‘B’ roads, or at least they would have been if we hadn’t come across the longest unbroken length of tarred & chipped road we’d ever seen. You know the kind of thing; tons of gravel dumped in the road and then left for motorists to spread around and roll in with tyres! On the straights we managed, oh, at least 20mph with stones flying everywhere, pinging off the front of the engine and bouncing up into our helmets. Then the corners, joy of joys, ever tried speedway style corners on a touring bike? Neither have I but it happened a couple of times - unintentionally. That road got our vote for worst of the tour, even worse than the Grande Ste. Bernard Pass! After about 10 miles of that c**p we arrived at Mont-Dore and headed off for the campsite, turning down the first one as the pitches were gravel (seriously), not much surprise there then. Day 7, a long but steady autoroute hack past Orleans up to a campsite just south of Rouen. Day 8, we stopped in the centre of Rouen and did a cultural bit walking around the four cathedrals / churches, before heading off to the Calais-Dover ferry and the final leg back to the Midlands.
Overall an excellent tour with around 2,800 miles completed. I highly recommend camping in France, you’re never more than 10 miles from a good campsite and the weather favours it. We had 8 days of fantastic clear blue skies, which was a good thing as Steve’s tent was bought as a play tent for his children 10 years ago – bargain! Can’t wait for next year! Many thanks to Steve Watt and Simon Heptonstall
IAM Rider Skills Day – Mallory Park Rob and I set out from home, Rob on his 1984 Z1100R and me on my SV650 in glorious sunshine - until 2 minutes later, the heavens opened and it poured down all the way to Mallory. Very nice as I had BRAND NEW, well 20 mile old tyres on (Dunlop D207 E) so they weren’t going to get run in properly. On arrival at Mallory we signed in and were given our group colour, Rob, me and two others were in the yellow group with Geordie (max 4 in a group). We then went to the briefing room where John Lickley and Roy Aston gave an insight into what we could Page 22 of 32
expect from the course, the track layout, flag colours and what they meant - a great help if you have never ridden on a track before. There was also a prize draw from Adelaide Insurance – 1st pri ze, refund of course fee: 2nd prize, half price course, a very nice gesture I thought. By now the sun was shining and with the track drying we kitted up and rode over to the pit garages where we met our instructors. The first 5 laps were steady (1st lap was a sighting lap) and we each followed Geordie around to see the lines he was taking. Then we did a few laps in one gear (3rd seemed preferable) to see how that felt, which was slightly weird especially around the hairpin! Next Geordie told us to step it up a bit and we each rode 2 laps with h im following. As the day went on we could go into the pits at anytime and Geordie would catch up with us and g ive us advice and inst ruction on our riding technique. I found it good that we could go at our own pace and Geordie could spend time with those he felt needed more instruction, or just tweak techniques etc. We were also shown clutch-less gear changing which was totally new for me but was fantastic to use on the track as it meant more control of the bike by not having to release your grip to pull the clutch in, in my opinion the best skill I learned. The only thing I didn’t like was the weather just near the end of the session, we had a rain shower and I came in a bit early as I’m not keen on riding in the wet, but I must say though the D207 tyres gave great feedback and immense grip in the wet, highly recommended. Many of the bikes on the day were new sports bikes with superb handling and b rakes, but don’t be let this put you off if you have an old wobbler. In our g roup we had the SV, 1100r, a Blackbird and a new CBR600. The rider of the Blackbird said he found some of the bends ha rd work, the rider of the CBR then said “I’m just following the old Kawasaki, if that can get round the bends then I can!” There was also one crash on the exit of Gerard’s just as it started to rain, he broke a couple of ribs and an ankle (someone told me) and was taken to hospital to be checked out, but was fully conscious and knew what was going on. There were also photos taken by various people and we purchased a disc with all the pictures of Rob and me (quite pricey but was a good souvenir). All in all a great day enjoyed by both of us and would recommend it to anyone wanting to give their bike a good go on a track. Thursday 3 rd July 2008, Afternoon Session 13:30 – 17:00, Instructor – Graham ‘Geordie’ Herron Many thanks to Claire Hancock and Rob Beale (There is another Rider Skills Day at Mallory Park on 9 October 2008, and I’m sure more next year – Ed)
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RACING A HONDA RS125 After several track days this year I decided that I’d either like to do more or start racing. Rob spotted an advert in MCN for “Novice racers required, no experience necessary”. One phone call later I sent off my details (short monkey with no brains...ha ha!), then a trial at Mallory Park. I hadn’t ridden a stroker before, I had been warned that they are quite awkward to ride I was nervous! Turned up at Mallory, signing in etc and Rodger (team manager) went through a brief beginners guide to riding the Honda RS125, basically there’s nothing below 9,000 revs and slip the clutch, he says! So its tyre warmers off and “Oh my God you want me to bump start it!” I think the look on my face said it all and Rodger offers to start the bike on the stand for me … phew, didn’t fancy messing that up! 1st session went well, no stoppages and my best time was 1:09sec, no t bad I thought (very 1st lap was 1:13). Rodger seemed well chuffed and proceeded to ask me to race in the team, all I needed to do was to work on my time and try and drop a couple of seconds and I’d make middle of the grid in an EMRA round at Mallory. COOL! 2nd Session didn’t go well as some poor bloke decided to sling his bike down at the hairpin …doh! So sess ion red flagged, the only problem for me being th is occu rred as I passed the entrance to the pit lane and I was on my way to the hai rpin … oops. Pulled up on the side of the track and promptly stalled the bike (no tick over) … oh bugger what do I do now, as I don’ t know how to bump i t? Friendly marshal run s over and tells me what to do and hey ho it worked … best lap time 1:08, only a second faster but it’s all good. 3rd session went pretty much the same as the 2nd, another bloke s lung his bike down the road at Edwina’s, so we’re red flagged - again (managed the pits this time without any dilemmas). Again best lap was 1:08, however, I was coasting round all the chicanes (Edwina’s, Hairpin and Bus Stop) though, ‘cos I couldn ’t get the thro ttle / cl utch control quite right, think the clutch lever needed some adjusting to get more p lay in it (well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Best moment of the day - 3rd session, as I came down the straight I was overtaken by a Duke 999, he took the racing line in to Gerard s, but I decided he was going to be in my way so I dipped left and whizzed passed him sounding like an angry wasp ... bet he was gutted ... overtaken by a GIRL … on a 125 ... ha ha! I love motorcycling - it’s great and I’m hoping to start racing next year, will keep you posted. If anyone wants to sponsor me, feel free to contact Rob or myself. Many thanks to Claire Hancock (from IAM Riders Skills Day, to team track racing! Well done Claire – Ed)
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Yugoslavian Adventures (Tales from Obi-Wan Kenobe’s youth) (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... – Ed) In 1967 I took delivery of a new Tri umph Bonneville, du ring that summer I set off on a proving trip for the bike. The only addition was a set of panniers to carry a change of clothes, a huge bundle of maps and several pints of spare oil. After three days of steady riding across Western Europe, I crossed the borde r into Yugoslavia. The country is very mountainous with more than three-quarters over 3000 feet. I rode south towards Ljubljana and then taking the road through Postojna, then across towards the coast, where the scenery was much the same as it was through parts of Austria. From the road I could see the snow capped peaks of the Julian Alps, with Triglav, at 9,194 feet, their highest peak, these form a wonderful setting for lakes Bled and Bohiny. When I reached Rejeka, which lies on the coast a few miles south of Trieste, I got my first sigh t of the Adriatic. Everywhere was dry and dusty and alt hough it had been very hot all day, I noticed the inc rease in temperature. It was much hotte r on the coast than inland. By now I had travelled over 1,000 miles and though the bike was running well, my riding gear was beginning to show signs of wear. The Adriatic coast-line is fringed with islands, la rge and small, it is known as ‘the sea of a thousand islands’. The northern coast is barren and in those days a desolate region with few amenities. The Dinaric Alps sweep right down to the sea and the coast road cuts into the mountain side running for some 800 miles. Luckily, I had filled up with petrol before leaving Rejeka; it was over 100 miles before I found another petrol s tation. The bike was using more than usual and I soon learned to fill the tank whenever and wherever I could. One night I was a litt le stuck for a p lace to s tay, but I discovered a small house at the foot of cliffs in a very small bay, a fisherman with his wife lived there. We talked to each other in sign language, and learning t hat the next small village was some 50 miles away, I accepted the offer of a room (“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” said ObiWan – Ed) Everything that happened during my nights stay with the couple seemed to emphasise how much in these days we take for granted. I wanted to wash so I was shown how to get my water - dredged from a hole in the ground which could hardly be called a well, using a wooden bucket attached to another cont raption by a kind of rope made from horsehair, I managed it but only just! (Use the Force ObiWan – Ed) In these parts it got dark early, the fis herman and his wife went to bed, I thought t hat I might as well have an early night, too, and went to my room that was built into the cliffside. I spent a few minutes looking for the light switch; it was not until the door opened and the old lady gave me a candle that I realised fully where I was and that, probably, they had never heard of electricity. Page 25 of 32
My next surprise came at 5am the following morning when I was woken up by the fisherman preparing his boat for the fi shing, a daily routine only broken once o r twice a week when he loaded his catch onto a donkey, taking it up the cliff to the road, where he and other isolated fisherman are met by an old lorry; the fish are then taken for re-sale. That day I continued south along the coast, stopping occasionally to swim in the warm water of the Adriatic, pas sing th rough Metkovic, I eventually reached Dubrovnik. This is a very old town and although in those days it was fast becoming a main tourist centre of the Southern Adriatic coastline, it sti ll retained a medieval atmosphere. I pushed on further south, by this t ime my mileage had topped 2000 and the signs were really beginning to show. I had worn my boots every day and they were wearing through, I had to stop every so often to empty dust and gravel from them. The bike, with a few adjustments and tightening of the odd nut was doing OK, however, I had used all my spare oil. There was oil at petrol stations but it looked peculiar and so I was determined to wait until I saw some that at least looked more like the oil I knew. I continued south and tried to cross into Albania but without a visa I was turned away, so I rode inland and took the road to Titograd. This was the only route across the southern mountain range of Conaora; it runs for about 250 miles, towns and villages a re few and far between. Crossing the mountains the road took me through tunnels, over passes and down into valleys. The scenery was wonderful and for the first 100 miles the road surface was quite good, but from Andrezevica the surface gradually worsened to become very rough, narrow and dusty, after a few miles it petered out altogether. I found myself riding between rocks, over rocks and through large potholes - just able to pick out the line of a possible track. It was very rough, the slow riding causing the engine to overheat. Petrol stations didn’t exist. In places rocks had fallen across the track, forcing me to stop and clear a passage to get through. At last the track became easier but only allowed a slight increase in speed, it was still very dusty. As I moved along I must have looked like a dust demon - I felt like one: the dust worked its way into my clothes and helmet, which in those days was open faced with goggles. The road took me over the Cakor Pass where, I came across a couple of wandering tribes, very dark skin ned fearsome looking bunch; some walking some on ho rseback. These were the first people I had seen for several hours, but I noticed some of them had rifles slung across thei r shoulders - I decided not to s top for photog raphs (for Obi-Wan knew the Sand People were dangerous – Ed) The tribesman were not the only hazards as I came down the pass; the road was bad, winding and slow. At several bends I was confronted with children who stood right in my tracks and trying to sell little tortoises, because I was concerned who else could be lurking, I didn ’t stop, the kids picked up stones and pelted me. As the road su rface was so bad I was compelled to ride slowly, th is gave the would-be salesman a g reat chance to practice thei r marksmanship. I cou ld hear the stones hitt ing the back of the b ike, by the time I reached the bottom of the pass, the rear n umber plate and panniers were heavily pitted (Just like riding round Birmingham then? – Ed) At dusk I rode into a town called Pec, the only town for about 180 miles and not far from the Albanian boarder. I was amazed at the sights - the people, a mixture of Yugoslavs, Greeks, Albanians, Turks and Romanians were very dirty and dressed mainly in Arab type clothes; living in old mud huts and tents on the outskirts, while conditions in the town centre were little better. The streets were tracks lined with beggars, some blind, Page 26 of 32
others no legs and all shuffling or dragging themselves along amongst the litter which lay stinking all over the place. (Obe-Wan thought to himself “Mos Eisley spaceport: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy - must be cautious.” – Ed) I could not find any place to stay, which was probably just as well because I sensed a feeling that if I did stay there everything including the bike would have been stolen. I was low on petrol and so quite pleased when I saw a garage; however, the petrol was pumped out of a drum which could have been left over from the war. With the tank full again all I could do was pres s on th rough the gathe ring darkness along the rough dusty road. I rode for a couple of hours with the engine spluttering on that awful petrol unt il I met a farmer riding back to Pec on his horse and cart. We stopped to shake hands and he was very interested in the bike, while he was engrossed in my mechanical horsepower, his own bolted with the cart. I felt qu ite sorry for him as he disappeared into t he night chasing his runaway cart. Once it was fully dark I stopped to give the bike and myself a break, I switched off the engine, put the lights out and sat back to enjoy the cool night ai r. The next thing I heard was the sound of wolves howling and barking, I don’t really know how close t hey were but I decided that I didn’t need a rest after all. (If only Obe Wan had had enough space to pack his trusty light sabre! – Ed) Around midnig ht, I rode i nto a place called Kosovska Mitovica where I found a small hotel. The proprietor and I groped through several languages until we found an understanding in broken German and sign language, the conversation went something like a game, “Had he a room?” He had. “Had I a passport?” I had. He wanted to see it, when he saw it was a Briti sh passport his eyes gleamed, he wanted to take possession! No! In those days in communist countries the law was all foreign travellers must hand over their passport for the night wherever they stayed! Not this foreign traveller! After some wrangling, I pe rsuaded him to fill in h is forms taking details from the passport in my presence. While doing th is he eventually came to the section marked ‘profession’, when he saw the words ‘police officer’ (Jedi Knight? - Ed), he gave me the best room in the house and discounted the bill! The next day I headed north, it was sti ll very hot and du sty but I found a tarmac road heaven! Leaving the mountains the road cut across the arid plains to Belgrade, capital city of the then Federal Republic. Built on the banks of the Danube, Belg rade stands on what was once the great highway between the Eastern and Western Empires of Rome and there are many relics of its his tory past, among them Nebojsa Tower, a Roman wall and several gates to the old city. More recent times can be judged by a visit to the museum of the Illegal Party Printing works. This is housed in a building where during the Second World War ‘underground partisans’ worked to print pamphlets and books under the very noses of Gestapo officers quartered in the same building. Belgrade is well worth a visit with its striking building s, avenues, theatres and concert halls. Leaving the capital, I joined the main ‘autobahn’ which runs the full length of the country from Austria to Greece, a distance of about 90 0 miles. This road went northward to Zagreb, although it was called an autobahn it was very rough and in places surfaced with cobblestones, one lane in either di rection, no cent ral reservation and all side roads running st raight onto it at right angles – quite dange rous, however, I stuck to it and crossed back into Austria.
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After over 3,000 miles I took a good look at myself and the b ike, I had managed to get more badly needed oil and wash the dust of the bike in a mountain st ream. As for myself, my boots had just about given up, one sleeve was falling off my jacket and my jeans were so bad I just dumped them; I did have a spare pair. After a couple of days relaxing, I took stock, I hadn’t much money left so decided not to hang about and headed north to Calais. With a round trip of some 4,000 miles behind me, I caught a ferry for Dover and home. Many thanks to Jeff Winterbottom
Track day at Darley Moor Did a track day train ing session with Mick Boddice at Darley Moor (on the A515 near Ashbourne) in August - well in 2 parts actually. I turned up on the 9th and it p issed down so hard that in the afternoon Mick gave us the option of coming back for the afternoon session another day as the standing water on the circu it was so bad they had to cone it off. i elected to come back another day. The reason I did the day is because Darley Moor was my main club when I raced in the mid 80's and hadn't ridden there for 22 years. I went back on the 29th and it was bone dry - bring it on - see the piccie … I enjoyed it so much I am going back to do the advanced session in 2009 although it is not cheap £250.00 but you can wear all their clobber if you want (I just used their leathers) and ride rather nice and very quick Honda CBR66RR's. If any club members are interested, Darley Moor does track days and they are not as mainstream as the big circuits. http://www.darleymoor.co.uk Many thanks to Simon Brockwell
Improvisation – the Mother of Invention? You know what it’s like, you go out for the day on your pride and joy (motorcycle that is), park up correctly in a safe and secure place, go for a walk around and then come back to find that some mindless tw*t has knocked your bike off its side stand. Well that’s what happened a few weeks ago to one of our Members, Simon Simpson. Damage - scratched panels and bits and a snapped clutch lever! There’s the initial ranting, raving, kicking and screaming to try find out ‘who dunnit?’, but of course they’re long gone. Perhaps they didn’t realise that they’d clipped my bike with their car, or perhaps they just shouldn’t be allowed out at the wheel of a vehicle…? Page 28 of 32
Some time after that it’s a phone call to the breakdown service which went something along the lines “What’s the problem Si r? Oh, your b ike’s been damaged – have you been involved in an accident. No. Oh in that case you’re not covered by breakdown recovery. Goodbye”. Another rant and rave with more kicking and sc reaming… but the end result is being stranded - miles from home. A bit of head scratch ing and out come the tools to remove the clutch lever stub, and the brake lever. Mmmm, they’re the same. Let’s try swapping the levers. Hey presto working clutch lever and one fingered front brake, followed by a very cautious ride home. Mindless tw*t – ½ : Inventive LAMM member – 1 Many thanks to Simon Simpson (for telling me the story - Ed)
Summer of Discontent 2008 started out full of hope - that was my first mistake! Road bikes serviced and ready to go, a trip to Czech Republic, decided to join the LAMM bike group to hone my skills, gained my race licence (a young star of tomorrow at 51!) purchased and developed a race bike, well someone developed it as I don’t have a clue really. Life was good. I attended one LAMM meeting, had one ride out and met Gary once (my Observer). Then in July, disaster stru ck, in my case an unavoidable error! I went to Cadwell Park for a track day – big mistake! Having enjoyed (survived?) the morning sessions and taken a light lunch (pie and chips – every serious racers’ staple diet), I took to the track. All was well until it rained – probably the fault of Gordon Brown or that bloke Brunstrom. Being sensible I backed off in the corners and everything was going OK – but I forgot to go slower on the straights ! I took 2nd gear to the rev l imiter then clicked into 3rd and that was that – Ooops! One broken wrist, one fractu red heel and damage to my p ride and joy (I mean the bike). My biking came to an abrupt end. I live next to the main road in Uttoxeter and have had to endure seeing every make and model of bike pass my window on the way to the Peak District for the pas t 10 weeks. I am not impressed as I sit here with my nose pressed up against the front window with all the inconsiderate riders – the least they could do is take a detour to avoid my distress at not being able to ride? So my summer has been spent doing one handed jobs at home (not sure if we can really print that? – Ed), talking to my wife (very stressful), running the kids around (very expensive) and generally getting depressed! The race bike was put back together better than before with lots of extra goodies (all essential…), and it sits in the garage unused.
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Last Satu rday I found a new use for the kids Meccano set and const ructed an ingenious wrist splint a rrangement which enabled me to ride the bike – what an absolute pleasure, freedom! I am now looking forward to 2009 with renewed hope and expectations. Hang on a minute, that’s where I s tarted 200 8 … I wil l be racing in 2009, so if you want to come and watch, I recommend an early event as I can’t gua rantee making it to the 2n d round. Now considering some winter testing in Spain, well if it’s good enough for Rossi … So the big choice, Michelin or Bridgestone? See you all soon, happy riding. Many thanks to Brent Millage (and get well soon!)
September Winefest Bernkastel-Kues This year I decided on a trip to a Winefest in a part of France I’ve not been to before The Mosel Valley.
Winefests are held from September to October to celebrate the wine harvest with villages and towns festivals. Trying something a little different this year I stopped overnight in Dover to catch the early morning ferry and the 300 mile run into Germany, through France, Belgium and Luxembourg. After a full German breakfast it’s down to the town and a river boat trip finishing the morning with apple strudel and a quick look round around readying for the evening entertainments.
In the afternoon it was into Kues for wine tasting before returning to the Hotel for another spread! In the evening it was back to Bernkastel for the night’s winefest and fireworks on the river and castle. The Sunday ride out was through the Mosel valley to the castle of Burg Eltz, such a good time was had that we missed the “float” parade back at Bernkastel! Monday dawned and an early start was the order of the day to return back to reality. Next year? Many thanks to Roy Follows Page 30 of 32
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Come and see usâ€Ś We meet on the last Sunday of the month at Fradley Village Hall just off the A38. Meetings start around 10.00 with a welcome session and all new members and existing members are welcome to attend. For new Associates, we pair up an Observer and organise first assessment rides, and there is usually a ride out for existing members.
Disclaimer Please note that articles and advertisement are individual contributions and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Lichfield Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists or the Institute of Advanced Motorists Page 32 of 32